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Displaying items by tag: Johnny Durcan

It was game on immediately for two Irish rivals at the Olympic 49er skiff class world championships in Mussanah, Oman on Tuesday. A new Royal Cork combination took a race win in their opening round while their Dublin rivals for the single Paris 2024 place won the last race of the day.

Cork dinghy ace Johnny Durcan with Tokyo campaigner Séafra Guilfoyle won their championship opening race in their flight. A ninth and an 18th followed, leaving the debutantes in the 18th, a mid-fleet overall standing at this early stage.

Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) had a steadily improving day, building their form as the light breeze strengthened.

Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club)Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club)

The North Dublin pair had a 14th then tenth place before winning the third race to finish 14th overall.

Britain's Jack Hawkins and Chris Tomas, who are looking to emerge from the shadow of training partners of Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, the Tokyo 2020 gold medallists are tied with the French pair of Kevin Fischer Guillou and Noe’ Delpech. Both are experiencing their first tastes of sitting atop a big championship.

With only the two 49er fleets needing to sail qualifiers through Thursday, the fleets are aiming for three races each day. Though the shifty warm breezes kept the scores of even the leaders mixed, the sunshine will be the only consistent factor this week.

Turning Heads

The Path to Paris will have new faces. Otto Henry with Miles Davey (AUS) and Hernan Umpierre with Fernando Diz (URU) sit third and fourth on the 49er leaderboard respectively. They represent the next generation of skiff talent who have grown up sailing fast and upskilling through a combination of video and extreme sports. Of the four, Diz is the oldest born in 1999, the rest were born in the new millennium and it doesn’t look like they’re interested in starting from the back of the fleet and moving up.

The Uruguayan pair won the Asian Championship as the warm up to this year’s worlds. They have moved to Cadiz, Spain, for their university studies, but it’s clear their passions lie in sailing. Likewise, locked out of Australia, the young pair have been in Europe all summer racing and training, before they are allowed back home eventually.

The qualification round continues for another two days to determine the Gold and Silver fleet splits for the final game that concludes the event on Sunday (21st November 2021).

The venue has experienced light airs for the past two weeks, but a sea breeze on Wednesday has been forecast.

Oman Sail is preparing to welcome a 148-strong fleet representing 29 countries when the 2021 49er, 49erFX and Nacra the World Championships gets underway in Mussanah on 16 November.

Being held in Asia for the first time in event history, the regatta is one of the first global sailing events after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and for some participants the start of the campaign to qualify for the Paris 2024 Games.

Ireland is represented by two 49er teams but alas no one in the women's 49er FX class where there is also an absence of Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey who competed for Team GB in Tokyo.

Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove were 11th at this week's Asian 49er ChampionshipsTokyo Olympians Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove were 11th at this week's Asian 49er Championships Photo: Sailing Energy

Representing Ireland are Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove of Howth YC and Skerries Sailing Club (2018 Afloat Sailors of the Year) and challengers for Paris, Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, both of Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Asian Championships

The Worlds is the first big event for both teams but not the first time the Irish rivals have met on the water.

They crossed swords last week at the 11-race pre-worlds or Asian Championships. It was first blood to the Tokyo Olympians as might be expected in the 30 boat fleet but not by that big a margin. Dickson and Waddilove finished 11th and the new Cork Harbour partnership finished 17th with a promising sixth scored in the penultimate race.

The 36-boat world championship will run from 16–21 November 2021 at the Barcelo Mussanah Resort, adding to Oman’s reputation as a world-class host and premier sailing nation.

The fleet includes Olympians, promising young sailors, high-performance doubles sailors and members of Oman’s national team, all looking to start their 2024 Olympic campaign in good form.

Teams are taking a breather after Tokyo 2020 and with Covid still causing travel issues, all three fleets will be heavily reduced at this regatta. That said, each class still contains some heavy hitters, so it will by no means be an easy ride to the top.

In the 49er class, none of the Olympic medalists from Tokyo are competing but that's not to say it leaves the prospect of a top result wide open with Olympians Łukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL), Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl (AUT), and former world number one James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) all competing.

Ben Remocker, 49er Class Manager, said, “In this shortened cycle ahead of the Paris 2024 Games, every regatta is important. With such a strong and varied fleet, the competition should be fierce throughout the week. Oman is an ideal host venue, and a great choice for the first 49er, 49erFX and Nacra the World Championships to be held within Asia".

#Laser - Ballyholme’s Liam Glynn added to a stellar weekend for Irish sport when he won bronze at the U21 Laser Worlds in Poland this afternoon.

The phenomenal result saw the former Topper world champion come out tops in the sixth qualifier and score three straight third-place finishes in the eighth, ninth and 10th races of the week.

Two other Irish Laser sailors made the Gold Fleet at Gydnia, with Johnny Durcan placing 40th and Ewan McMahon 44th.

In the women’s Laser Radial competition, Belfast’s Sally Bell bowed out after four races to place 70th overall.

Published in Laser

In the 21 years since the Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” awards were first introduced, we had always dutifully waited until the end of the month before allocating the plaudits, even when it had been clear for days or even weeks where the honours were going to be placed.

But special situations deserve special treatment, and 17–year–old Cork Harbour sailor Johnny Durcan’s heartfelt thanks to fellow 29er sailors Simon Hoffman of Australia and Santiago Alegre of Spain for saving his life in the Worlds at Los Angeles had served as a very timely reminder of the dangers of our sport at its most intense and competitive levels.

So a fortnight ago was the right time to first honour what they did. And what they did was so special that we regard it as a privilege to re-state it all after the end of the month has duly passed.

Even though capsizes are part and parcel of dinghy racing, in a complex trapeze boat like the 29er, an ordinary capsize can sometimes escalate into a rapidly deteriorating situation in which sailors are trapped in ropes, lines and sails, with the very lifejackets which are supposed to help them actually jamming them in situations where drowning becomes all too possible.

This is what happened with Johnny Durcan. But in the hectic rush of the fleet, other competitors scarcely noticed that this was something much worse than an ordinary capsize. Yet Simon Hoffman, who had recently received intensive first-aid training as part of his bid to become a fully-fledged sailing coach, sensed that this was a total emergency. He simply abandoned his own boat, tore off his lifejacket, and dived underneath the capsized boat to save Durcan in what was now a full-scale emergency.

durcan alegre2Johnny Durcan (left) is visited by Santiago Alegre
He was soon joined by Santiago Alegre, and between them they released Durcan and dragged him up through a mesh of ropes and sails to the surface. He had been immersed for maybe three minutes, and was in a very bad way. But he revived after CPR by Hoffman and Alegre, and fully recovered in hospital.

Just a few seconds more, or with less decisive action by Hoffman and Alegre, and this would not have been a story with a happy ending. We can all only hope that, faced with such a situation, our own instincts of humanity would guide us in the right way too. Yet that is something for which most of the rest of us can only hope. But Simon Hoffman and Santiago Alegre showed us what true instincts of humanity can achieve, and they deserve heartfelt gratitude from the entire world of sailing.

Published in Sailor of the Month
Tagged under

Johnny Durcan sailed in Crosshaven on Thursday night (10 August) for the first time since his dramatic capsize at the 29er Worlds in which he became trapped under his skiff.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Royal Cork’s hottest youth sailing prospect almost drowned in the incident at Long Beach, California last weekend.

It was only the quick action of his fellow competitors that saved his life, he said.

The 17-year-old has since taken to the Facebook account he shares with his brother Harry to pay tribute to two sailors in particular, Australia’s Simon Hoffman and Spain’s Santiago Alegre.

Eighteen-year-old Hoffman, a devout Christian, believes it was God’s plan that saw him jump into the water from his boat without a second thought to try to save his trapped friend, as he told The Australian.

The New South Wales sailor was joined by Catalan racer Alegre in attempting to pull Johnny free from beneath the upturned skiff.

The pair finally succeeded after a few minutes, but then faced a difficult swim to a nearby motorboat with a lifeless Johnny.

“I still thought he was dead, because his eyes were still open, there was no breathing and he was limp,” Hoffman said after he and Alegre had attempted CPR for some time to no avail.

But the duo persevered till they saw a blink in his right eye, then a slight breath through his nose — small but vital signs of life.

Johnny Durcan has since made a full recovery, returning to the water just days after his life-threatening ordeal.

And he says he plans to record a video telling his side of the story on his return from the Laser Radial Youth Worlds in the Netherlands next week.

The full story is behind a paywall, so you may or may not be able to access it, without subscribing but here's some excerpts: 

Suffice to say that Mr Hoffman had recently received "intensive first-aid training as part of his bid to become a fully-fledged sailing coach. He took charge, and likely saved his Irish mate's life who, after CPR administered by Hoffman and Santiago, was revived. A Coast Guard boat arrived and rushed Durcan to a Long Beach hospital where he was admitted and recovered, and was later visited by Hoffman.

Two other revealing excerpts from the article:

“Some of the other boats yelled out ‘I think he needs help’ as they sailed past,” Hoffman said. “I found that really weird.

From his hospital bed, Durcan wasted no time in sending a message to the general email ­address of Australian Sailing to have Hoffman’s efforts officially acknowledged. “Simon Hoffman quite literally saved my life yesterday at the 29er worlds, and is the reason I’m alive to write this from hospital,” he wrote. “Maybe I can nominate him for some sort of special award.” Australian Sailing president Matt Allen said yesterday: “Simon’s efforts show great bravery. We will do everything we can to ensure he is recognised. Everybody is so proud.” Durcan and Hoffman, both safely back home, now have a lifelong bond.

Published in 29er
Tagged under

Royal Cork's top youth sailor Johnny Durcan has been involved in a serious incident competing at the 29er world championships where he was trapped under his skiff dinghy during a capsize. The top Laser sailor is recovering in hospital in Los Angeles after he ended up 'getting stuck beneath the water'. 

Durcan has described the 'hectic end' to the championships on social media and relates how, after his '[trapeze] harness was caught, it led to 'drowning and total respiratory failure i.e. 'I stopped breathing and passed out'.

The Cork Harbour ace was one of two Irish 29ers competing at Long Beach, California, the other boat sailed by his twin brother Harry and Harry Whitaker, also of Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Durcan admits 'things were looking quite bad because I was under the water, unconscious for a while but thanks to the many sailors on the course who jumped out to help, I'm still here and kicking'.

It is understood, his 11–year–old helm Lola Kohl, from Christiansted, St Croix in the USA, raised the alarm and fellow competitors and coaches rushed to Durcan's assistance.

CPR was performed on the Irish youth champion. He was rushed ashore from the race course and an ambulance brought him to hospital immediately.

'My fellow competitors helped save me. And that's something that makes sailing the sport it is.' the Cork youth declared on Facebook, posting this photograph below from his hospital bed.

Parent's Yvonne and Tom Durcan were one of the first to post a comment online in response: 'One seriously relieved Mom and Dad xxxxxx'

29er USA Durcan hospitalJohnny Durcan surrounded by well–wishers is recovering in an LA Hospital after a serious capsize incident at the 29er Worlds at Long Beach, California Photo: Facebook

We wish Johnny a speedy recovery and the Irish 29er team a safe trip home – Ed.

Published in 29er

Although December's youth sailing world championships did not deliver the result Johnny Durcan had hoped for, the young Crosshaven Laser Radial helmsman went on to race at the Australian National Championships in Adelaide last week. The Royal Cork and National Yacht Club sailor was competitive again and finished 19th overall despite two Yellow flags and a UFD which he says, 'really cost'. 

Making the most of his trip down under, Durcan competes tomorrow at his third Australian event, the Radial youth national championships at the same venue, before returning home to studies in Ireland. It's an event, he says, where he aims to 'keep the scorecard clean'.

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

Ireland's Youth Laser Radial sailors are aiming for a top ten finish at the Youth Sailing World Championships after eight races races sailed in New Zealand. The National Yacht Club's Nicole Hemeryck is back in the top ten in the Girls Laser Radial fleet after scoring another consistent ninth place in race eight and Royal Cork's Johnny Durcan is up from 18th to 14th in the Boys fleet after a scoring a fourth place in race eight. Full up–to–date results are here.

Gold medals tumbled in Auckland at the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships as five winners were confirmed with a race to spare. Australia's Finnian Alexander has the boy's Laser Radial in his sights barring a complete final day meltdown and Germany's Hannah Anderssohn takes the initiative in a tight girl's Laser Radial battle.

More than 380 sailors from 65 nations sailing in more than 260 boats across nine disciplines are competing.

The final races are scheduled for 09:55 local time on Tuesday 20 December out of the Torbay Sailing Club.

Published in Youth Sailing

Both of Ireland's Youth Laser Radial sailors are battling hard to stay in contention at the Youth Sailing World Championships after six races races sailed in New Zealand.  The National Yacht Club's Nicole Hemeryck has dropped three places to eleventh in the Girls Laser Radial fleet and Royal Cork's Johnny Durcan went from 12th to 18th in the Boys fleet after a black flag starting line penalty in race six. Full up–to–date results are here.

In the boys fleet, Australia's Finnian Alexander (a strong performer at the KBC–Radial worlds at the Royal St. George Yacht Club this Summer) took two bullets to open up an 18–point gap back to Denmark's Patrick Doepping and New Zealand's George Gautrey who both have 33 in the boy's Laser Radial. Alexander however will tread with caution in the coming days as he has a disqualification on his scorecard from the very first race of the Youth Worlds. So far, so good for the Aussie sailor since then though.

Sandra Luli (CRO) is still top of the girl's Laser Radial, but Rio 2016 Olympian Dolores Moreira Fraschini (URU) is chasing hard. The Uruguayan took a bullet and a 10th compared to the sixth and discarded 20th Luli scored. The Croatian still leads by two points overall. Germany's Hannah Anderssohn rounds out the podium in third.

Racing continues at the Youth Worlds and is scheduled to begin at 09:55 local time at the Torbay Sailing Club on Monday 19 December.

Published in Youth Sailing

Both of Ireland's Laser Radial sailors are off to a strong start at the at the Youth Sailing World Championships after four races races sailed in New Zealand.  The National Yacht Club's Nicole Hemeryck is in the top ten of the Girls Laser Radial fleet Royal Cork's Johnny Durcan is 12th in the Boys fleet. Full results are here.

Hemeryck counts three results in the top ten (6, 9, 7) to be eighth overall in her 48–boat fleet.

It's tight at the top of both Laser Radial fleets as the discard came into play, allowing a chosen few to start forming breakaways from the rest of the field.

Conditions were mixed on the Hauraki Gulf as a light 4-6 knot breeze dialled up later in the day to the mid-teens. The mixed breeze brought mixed results as light wind specialists excelled one minute and suffered the next, and vice versa for the sailors who thrive in strong breeze.

Laser Radial leader Patrick Doepping (DEN) had mixed fortunes. Doepping finished day one with two bullets but in Saturday's racing the Dane fell right to the back of the fleet finishing a lowly 37th, "I think the difference is I am a full rig sailor,” explained Doepping. "I am 80-82 kilos so for me in the light breeze it's very hard to keep the speed. In the strong breeze I don't have the disadvantage I have in the light breeze and that's why I didn't do well today.”

Doepping followed up with a seventh as the conditions fell in his favour enabling him to discard his 37th. Despite a self-proclaimed disappointing day, Doepping remains ahead of the fleet and isn't letting this affect his mentality, "I have been very calm and haven't been in any situations so far. I will keep doing what I've done over the last couple of days and avoid any mistakes.”

Only four points separate the top five and Doepping's discard could play a big role at the end of the week if he does get in to any situations. Doepping will have to keep watch as Great Britain's Daniel Whiteley is ready to pounce, looking to move up from fifth. Whiteley has been sailing near the top of the fleet in every race so far, but it's not good enough, or great enough for the Briton, "It was pretty challenging out there today. I got a sixth in the first race and a 13th in the last race so I'm not too happy, but it leaves me in contention.

"Tomorrow I can go out and do a bit better and climb the leaderboard. I haven't properly messed up yet. I'm consistent and hopefully I can make it consistently great rather than consistently good.”

Whiteley's discarded 13th is better than those around him and that gives him a little breathing space, "Maybe I have a little less pressure, but you can't think like that. We've got another three days, another five races and that's over half the championship so we will have to see how it shapes up.”

Sandwiched between Doepping on top and Whiteley in fifth is George Gautrey (NZL) in second, Dominik Perkovic (CRO) in third and Finnian Alexander (AUS) fourth.

It was Sandra Luli's day in the girl's Laser Radial and the Croatian remains on top. Talking through her day Luli said, "Today it was light winds. Compared to yesterday, tactics and speed was more important as the wind was always changing. In the first race I finished eighth and second race I finished first.”

Luli can discard her eighth place finish which gives her a nice six point cushion over Rio 2016 Olympian Dolores Moreira Fraschini (URU) who discards her 17th and counts her second.

Sitting in third is Germany's Anderssohn who summed up the day for just about every Laser Radial sailor in Auckland, "For me I think it wasn't such a good day. The first race was okay but the second wasn't very good. I think it changed a lot and everyone had a bad race. It was very shifty so you don't know where to go and there was less wind. It was hard conditions.”

Of the day one frontrunners defending champion and Rio 2016 sailor Maria Erdi (HUN) dropped down to fifth after a 15th and a UFD, which she discards.

Erdi came ashore after racing and was left confused about her performance, "There are some pretty good people here, but I just wasn't expecting myself to do this bad in shifty winds.” The Hungarian will have to sail smarter for the rest of the championship to stay in contention.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

©Afloat 2020

Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition

Where is the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition being held? Sailing at Paris 2024 will take place in Marseille on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea between 28 July and 8 August, and will feature Kiteboarding for the first time, following a successful Olympic debut in 2018 at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. The sailing event is over 700 km from the main Olympic Games venue in Paris.

What are the events? The Olympic Sailing Competition at Paris 2024 will feature ten Events:

  • Women’s: Windsurfing, Kite, Dinghy, Skiff
  • Men’s: Windsurfing, Kite, Dinghy, Skiff
  • Mixed: Dinghy, Multihull

How do you qualify for Paris 2024?  The first opportunity for athletes to qualify for Paris 2024 will be the Sailing World Championships, The Hague 2023, followed by the Men’s and Women’s Dinghy 2024 World Championships and then a qualifier on each of World Sailing’s six continents in each of the ten Events. The final opportunity is a last chance regatta to be held in 2024, just a few months before the Games begin.

50-50 split between male and female athletes: The Paris 2024 Games is set to be the first to achieve a 50-50 split between male and female athletes, building on the progress made at both Rio 2016 (47.5%) and Tokyo 2020 (48.8%). It will also be the first Olympic Games where two of the three Chief roles in the sailing event will be held by female officials,

At A Glance - Irish Olympic Sailing Team 2022 Events

  • Laser World Championships 21-28 May, Mexico
  • 49er European Championships, 4 – 10 July, Denmark
  • Olympic Test Event, 1- 14 Aug, Marseille, France
  • 49er World Championships ... 31 Aug – 6 Sep, Canada
  • Hague Youth World Championships, 7 Sept – 2 Oct, The Hague
  • Laser Radial World Championships, 10 – 17 Oct, Qingdao, China
  • Laser European Championships, 14 – 21 Nov, Hyeres, France

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